Encounters with the people targeting Beth Israel Congregation families at Sabbath Services


I took a break from services [for those unfamiliar, Sabbath service are hours long – ed.] and went outside to talk to the protestors. Some of them seem like decent enough people, just not very well informed. I’d say their passion far outstrips their knowledge. Some of them, though, are quite obnoxious. I got into a discussion with Henry [the group’s chief publicity hound – ed.]. We were talking about the Taba agreements [Israeli-Palestinian negotiations -ed.] and it was clear he just didn’t know what he was talking about. It was obvious, and that really upset him. He just started to fall apart. A real meltdown. At one point I asked him if he was Jewish [most of the protestors are not. The few who claim to be, demonstrate marked ignorance of Jewish customs, practices and history – ed.] The very question made him nearly hysterical. At one point he threatened to take out his penis to “prove” to me that he was Jewish! [It would hardly have distinguished him from the Muslim picketers, and probably the others. – ed.]. Then, that very obnoxious Reverend with the camera came up and stuck his camera right in my face, just inches away!


[Somewhat sheepishly Henry admits his failure on his web site. He awards the Larry H duct tape trophy (for most obnoxious picketer) to himself. The blame for his meltdown, he points out, is not his own. Rather, it was because “a provocateur” dared to come out of the targeted synagogue and question him. Henry concludes his account with the hopeful note: The provocateur’s insidious questioning was captured by the protestors’ own cameraman (never picket a synagogue without one!) The protestors would be studying the video in order to educate themselves on how to overcome Zionists tactics! – ed.]


The writer is a Professor of Southeast Asian History at The University of Michigan